The need for federal action is dire, local steel officials say.
By AMANDA C. DAVIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- The Mahoning Valley is being asked to stand up for the industry that has long fueled the local economy and continues to put food on the table for thousands of area families.
A town hall meeting called Stand Up For Steel is planned for 3:30 p.m. May 14 on Courthouse Square. Steelworkers, their families and friends, politicians, students, senior citizens and others are urged to attend.
The announcement came Tuesday at a press conference in Warren Mayor Hank Angelo's office. He was joined by John Kubulis, president of United Steelworkers of America, Local 2243; Mike Rubicz, president of USWA Local 1375; and Tim Roberts, spokesman for WCI Steel, Warren.
WCI's Stand Up For Steel Committee and USWA 1375 will sponsor the meeting to inform the community of the national steel crisis and its local effect.
Support: Eleven area communities have passed resolutions supporting the industry, and more than 10,000 postcards have been gathered from area residents who support limiting imports of foreign steel. Both will be sent to Washington, D.C.
Officials said there's a dire need for the federal government to enforce trade laws because cheaper imports threaten jobs, retirement incomes, health care coverage, restaurants and other businesses, and the future of General Motors and Delphi Packard Electric Systems.
Roberts said a dependence on foreign steel will threaten our country's infrastructure and national defense needs.
Steelworkers are asking President Bush to initiate a trade law investigation that could halt the influx of illegally traded imports, allowing the industry to reorganize.
Roberts said a majority of U.S. steel is produced between Pittsburgh and Chicago, with Ohio leading production and Indiana right behind.
'Backbone': "This industry affects everyone" and has been "a backbone of the economic situation in this country" for years, Kubilis said.
CSC Ltd. in Champion, a steel bar mill, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January, affecting jobs for 1,400 workers.
LTV Corp. is negotiating with Steelworkers to possibly restructure LTV Steel, which has operated under bankruptcy protection since December. LTV will close one of two mills at its Cleveland Works by June, wiping out 900 jobs.
Roberts announced this week the Youngstown Sinter Co. on Division Street will close July 15 to cut costs. Fifty-eight employees will be jobless unless the market improves and the plant reopens. WCI bought the sinter plant for $1 in 1989 when it also acquired LTV's Warren Works.